Former Black Fern welcomes findings of review into team culture

Source: 1News

Former Black Fern Kristina Sue has welcomed the findings of the long-awaited review into the team's culture.

"I think it's timely in a sense that what this review and report highlights are the deeper issues that exist in rugby for women," Sue told Breakfast.

The findings of the review were made public by New Zealand Rugby on Monday afternoon. It was undertaken following veteran hooker Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate's serious allegations about the team environment under head coach Glenn Moore following the side's northern tour last year.

The report found there was no clear and consistent high-performance vision and that this needed to be addressed.

READ MORE: Black Ferns review finds deficiencies in team environment

There were gaps in management due to a lack of "robust recruitment and training" and the Black Ferns had to "create an environment that was safe and inclusive with regard to culture, gender and sexuality".

The Black Ferns had to place a greater focus on the rights, cultural and welfare needs of players and management.

There were 26 recommendations put forward by the review panel including education and focus on a "harm-free" workplace, communication strategies and personal development plans for players.

"We are in a space now where women's rugby is going professional ... There's areas that need to improve and when you're delving into that professionalism of sport, there needs to be support and resources around the whole game and certainly when you talk about culture, there's a difference between performance culture and as players understanding what it means to deal with those hard conversations around selection … to culture within an environment that can be led from top down," Sue reflected.

Asked by Breakfast's Jenny-May Clarkson on how to get it right in order to continue to grow the game, Sue replied: "We're talking about a deeper issue of women in sport here. You look at Sport New Zealand, the percentage that they're wanting at a governance level of 40%. You look at NZ Rugby structure, there's two females within a board that exists of nine people and that's only 11%.

"Then you look at NZ Rugby in terms of management and one of the recommendations is to ensure there's cultural and gender diversity that is fairly represented within management roles and you look at the current status of the teams in New Zealand, there's currently 19 elite head coaching positions of the women's game … there are two female head coaches in those roles.

"Yes coaches should be selected on merit, but also there needs to be resource, there needs to be development. There actually needs to be a strategic plan to ensure not only as athletes there's opportunities within our game, for all other people and wāhine that want to get involved in our game, and that it's fair and equitable."